Monday was a big day for Ben Stiller.
At the start of this week, the actor came face-to-face with his own personal hero – Ukrainian comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Stiller is currently visiting Europe as part of his role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. After witnessing the destruction left by Russian invaders in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, he stopped by the presidential offices to meet with the nation’s leader.
In a video of the meeting, Stiller can be seen shaking Zelenskyy’s hand. “Sir, really nice to meet you. Thanks for taking the time. You’re my hero,” the Zoolander star tells him, adding that he is inspired by what Zelenskyy has “done in this country and for the world.”
"You are my hero," @BenStiller, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, told Ukraine's Zelenskiy while meeting in Kyiv after visiting other parts of the region in recent days #WorldRefugeeDay2022 https://t.co/3rlDO0wn5e pic.twitter.com/PfrwhgO0Qb
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 20, 2022
Before he rose to political office, Zelenskyy was a popular comedian in his home nation. As well as praising his response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Stiller also complimented the president on his “great acting career.”
“Not as great as you,” Zelenskyy replied with a laugh.
Stiller’s visit coincided with World Refugee Day 2022 (Monday, June 20). To mark the occasion, the Meet The Parents star issued a statement reflecting on the Ukrainian refugees he had met in Poland and the responsibility we all share to help those displaced by conflict.
“I’m here meeting people forced to flee their homes due to the war in Ukraine. People have shared stories about how the war has changed their lives — how they’ve lost everything and are deeply worried about their future,” he said in the statement.
“Over the years I’ve had the chance to meet refugees and asylum seekers from around the world from Syria, Central America, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Ukraine,” he continued, adding:
“In so many parts of the world, war and violence devastate people and leave lasting traumatic effects. Wherever and whenever it happens, nobody chooses to flee their home.”
“Seeking safety is a right and it needs to be upheld for every person. Protecting people forced to flee is a collective global responsibility. We have to remember this could happen to anyone, anywhere,” the actor concluded.